Telemedicine allows individuals to get medical care remotely via video chat or another means. Patients and providers alike benefit with this option, as a range of services may be provided this way. This includes a primary care consultation, physical therapy, and psychotherapy among others. Using this method allows patients to remain at home when possible rather than visiting a primary care physician, emergency department, or urgent care clinic. Doctors write or renew prescriptions using this method, and therapists provide services for those who cannot get into the office for any reason. Before making use of telemedicine, patients must understand the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.
Research shows patients benefit when taking advantage of telemedicine services. Individuals using telemedicine spend less time in the hospital or going back and forth to doctors. This allows them to save on expenses such as gas and childcare for the visits. They still get the same quality of care when using this option, so more people now choose it when possible.
Individuals with disabilities find they can access care that may previously have been inaccessible. Older adults find they can contact their doctor even when nobody is available to take them in for a visit. Incarcerated individuals benefit from being able to see a specialist without having to leave the facility, which can take a great deal of time and effort to arrange. Additionally, people who live in remote locations may speak with doctors in other parts of the country to get the care they need.
People who take advantage of telemedicine services avoid exposure to germs in a healthcare facility. Although doctors often separate sick individuals from those who are there for a physical or well check, this isn’t always possible. Anyone with an underlying condition or a weakened immune system frequently chooses this option so they don’t pick up an infection at the doctor’s office or hospital.
Insurance companies have hesitated to cover telemedicine services. However, thanks to the global pandemic, more providers now offer this option. They recognize their clients want and need medical care but don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus or other illness to get the care. As a result, more insurance companies now cover the services, so speak to your insurer to learn if you can benefit from this option.
Patients need to take care to safeguard their private medical data. Avoid using public networks or unencrypted channels when possible, as hackers and other criminals find it easy to steal information on these networks and channels due to a lack of security. Finally, physical exams and lab tests cannot be carried out via telemedicine.
If you have yet to try telemedicine, now would be a good time to do so. While you might not need the services at this time, it’s nice to know how to access them in the future. Take care to check out the provider before using a service, especially if this provider is one you haven’t used before. This gives you peace of mind knowing your medical condition is being treated and you aren’t sacrificing quality of care in the process.